NATO military presence in the Baltic region needs to be enhanced as it was agreed at the September NATO summit in Wales, Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas stated Thursday
“Our mission is to swiftly implement the decisions made at the NATO summit in Wales, according to which the North Atlantic Treaty alliance will continue bolstering its presence in countries neighbouring Russia,”
– Roivas was quoted as saying by the government’s press service.
The statement was made as Roivas welcomed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who arrived for a one-day visit to Estonia. The two visited the Amari Air base near Harjumaa, Estonia, and met the military personnel there.
According to Roivas, there are three components of boosting the country’s defense.
“The presence of the NATO troops, quick reaction and corrections to NATO plans according to the ever-changing safety situation,” he said.
He also assured Stoltenberg that Estonia’s military spending would not exceed two percent of the country’s GDP.
Over the past few months, NATO has been increasing the number of troops stationed in the Baltic region after a political crisis erupted in Ukraine and Crimea reunified with Russia in March. The alliance justified its excessive presence close to Russian borders as its duty to guarantee the security of the allies.
Baltic countries do not have the jets necessary for air patrols. As such, since their April 2004 accession to NATO, the security of Baltic airspace is maintained by NATO, which has planes based in Lithuania at Zokniai, located five kilometres from Siauliai. Amari Air Base started hosting NATO aircraft in 2014.
Russia has repeatedly expressed concern over the increasing and excessive NATO military presence close to its borders.
Source: Sputnik News